Women Composers Hiding in Plain Sight

>> Melissa Wertheimer: Okay well good morning everyone, can everyone hear me alright? Excellent My name is Melissa Wertheimer and I’m so excited that you are joining me today in the Gertrude Clark Whittall Pavilion in new Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress I wanted to first orient you to the space and then also orient you to myself a little bit Since we’re a nice intimate group and this is all about getting intimate with primary sources I’d like for this just really have a nice kind of casual flow The structure of today, I will give you a presentation and I will also let you know what is on display There will be a few minutes for questions And then I want to give you guys ample time to just explore the exhibit that I’ve curated for you today So the space that you are in was built in 1938 with the generosity of Gertrude Clark Whittall and her foundation She is also responsible for the unsurpassed collection to your left of Stradivari, Stradivarius, Guarneri and Amati instruments Those instruments have also been beautifully photographed and our online for you on our digital collections, loc.gov/collections You can see the backs of the instruments, you can get up close and zooming of the grain, it’s really stunning And also this room is home to a very small sample, most of which is hidden behind this screen here, but some are in the back Samples from the Dayton C Miller flute collection, it is the largest collection of flutes in the world Because I’m a flutist, I have to give the little plug Dayton C. Miller was a physicist and acoustician and he ran the Physics Department at Case Western University His collection came to us in 1941 and it’s not just instruments And they do actually represent flutes from all around the world Various Native American traditions in this country Flutes from Asia, flutes from Africa, flutes from the Western classical tradition, also other woodwinds, clarinets and recorders, there’s even a double flageolet hiding behind this TV over here So, there’s also iconography, books about music, books about flute making So this is a very special space to be in, to talk about music And to enjoy the history of DC in particular So, like I said my name is Melissa and I started at the Library of Congress Music Division only seven months ago As a reference librarian Before I was at the Library of Congress, I was kind of bouncing around a little bit with various project, archivist positions at the Baltimore Museum of Art, The Walters Art Museum, the Peabody Institute and the University of Maryland College Park My background is and still is as a professional flutist and piccoloist I taught flute at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland for a little under a decade and also Music History and Appreciation at Johns Hopkins University to music minors and students not majoring in music So, being here today really represents what I love most, which is anybody who just is slightly interested in music, to the people who live music everyday Where we can talk about what makes it so important to us What we think is cool, the little niches that we can just kind of dig in together And just really bringing enthusiasm in a room together about music So, today is declassified, which is when music specialists really put out all the stops and pull out all of these primary sources that you can see, I’ve gone a little wild here today pulling out funding’s for you Women composers hiding in plain sight It is a meaningful title and I chose it because it has a double edged sword a little bit Hiding in plain sight, when you think of that, you think about something that is just right in front of you, but you don’t know what it is, or you miss it somehow That’s because we’re going to be talking about a glass negative today That was, that has been digitized by the Princeton Photographs Division, it is in the custody of the Princeton Photographs Division It’s part of a massive gift collection from the National Photo Company Collection And it’s up online, you can find it, but only if you know previously, only if you knew how to find it And as librarians and archivists, something that’s very important to us is, thinking about what we collect, if we collect something What we select or if we select something from that larger collection What and if and how we describe something, when we talk about description in libraries and archives,

you may hear words get thrown around like descriptive metadata Or, cataloging, or you know terms like that And that that’s what we talk about when we say description And description is how librarians and archivists make objects and collections visible And we’re in a time right now, in the music world and the larger world too, where visibility is an important topic, it is a big topic that we’re all talking about with various cultures, religious groups, types of people, causes And so visibility really comes to the floor when we’re talking about cultural heritage And the Library of Congress is here to preserve and make available cultural heritage So I want you all to keep in mind today, this theme of visibility and what we all do either when we try to make ourselves visible, to other people Or what we do in our daily lives with bringing things that are important to us, how do we describe them to make them visible? So, let’s keep that in mind today So first this is all going to start off by talking about a little adventure I had when I first started here seven months ago My supervisor Robin Rausch, generously arranged tours of every single reading room in the library for me as a new employee And part of that orientation was an orientation to the Princeton Photographs Division And there was a tool that I learned about at that orientation called PPOC, that’s the acronym, it stands for prints and photographs online catalog And it’s available to all of you, the Princeton Photographs Division maintains their own catalog, which is separate from the regular online catalog that you all may use to find objects at the library So I said to myself, well you know in the name of getting to know this, this overwhelmingly new place, and in the name of trying to just get to know what other resources, other divisions have that relate to music so I can be the best reference librarian that I could be I said, hey, why not just punch in a search term and see what comes up And low and behold, my third search result was pretty wonderful and it is the reason we’re actually all here today I just started typing in women composers Because I had already messed around in PPOC just plugging in some very specific names You know, oh do they have any images of Vaslav Nijinsky, do they have any images of Sergei Diaghilev, do they have any images of so and so And so I said, okay well what will happen if I do something broader And there it was, search result number three and yeah that red writing, the what, that is what I said at my computer screen at my desk that day So this was the search that started it all So, in PPOC when you click on a record, it shows you the digitized image, it gives you really wonderful acquisitions information, so the descriptive information that I had shared with you earlier But what really intrigued me about this image, is that the women were not named in it It had a title, women composers 4/23/24 But in any other group photo I saw in PPOC, the groups either, the groups were named or the individuals were named, there was a lot more information and so it actually struck me that this didn’t have a lot of information But right off the bat I said to myself, that woman in the middle has got to be Amy Beach And, so I said to myself, oops, sorry about that, I said to myself, you know the National Photo Company Collection, which is where this digitized glass negative came from, only documented cultural events in Washington DC So that means this image was taken in Washington DC So, my goal was to figure out who these women were, to expand the descriptive information in the catalog record, so that this moment could be made available, searchable, findable and documented for scholars, for other women who composed for anyone just curious about the history of women’s struggles in this country So what I found was that these women were in Washington DC for the 1924 biennial convention of the National League of American Pen Women And it took place at the Shoreham Hotel, still exists up in northwest DC, although now it’s called the Omni Shoreham And they were here to be members of the National League of American Pen Women The organization was founded in 1897, because women were not allowed to be members of the American Press Club So it started off as being a way

for women journalists to come together And then it also very quickly expanded their membership to include all women create of letters, creative women, so artists, poets, writers and composers as well Because at this time it was difficult albeit, you know almost entirely impossible for women to even join ASCAP, the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers Although, one of the ladies we’re going to talk about today did eventually join ASCAP a few years after this photo was taken So, my biggest resources for finding out information were going to be newspapers And I’m definitely indebted to my supervisor Robin for making that immediate suggestion, she said well if this was about women in DC, the society pages are going to have a lot for you And that was one of the places I started looking So as far as the League of American Pen Women, this didn’t occur in a vacuum And something I want to emphasize today is that, these women were incredibly famous in their lifetimes And there’s a reason that the organization founded So, little bit of a history lesson, because we’re here to talk about a historic moment Here’s a sample of discourse of the time 1880 and we do have a copy of this book here, the cover is much prettier than its contents How is it that woman, that singularized, tokenized term, that woman, with all these attributes of music in her nature, so we’re talking about being gentle and you know being amused All these attributes of music in her nature is receptive rather than creative That’s the tone of that book right there, so again enjoy the binding So 1897, there seems to be a tendency in some minds to make a great deal of the fact that a piece of music is written by a woman It must be because the novelty has not worn off What we really want and will eventually have, is unprejudiced, and therefore fair, treatment This is published in the Etude, we have two volumes of the Etude on display here The Etude was published by Theodore Presser, music publisher still in business today, based in Philadelphia And the Etude was actually geared more for pedagogy So you actually have a lot of issues dedicated to women 1909, 1918 called women’s issues or the woman number And, so you get a lot of women writing in, because they’re told that, you know their vocation, their aim, you know as teachers, that’s going to be the way women can be professional in music, in a caretaker capacity of nurturing Nurturing others, meaning young men to go on and do musical things So at least they’re allowed in a profession, but this woman Cora Stanton Brown, this was a letter to the editor kind of section I still, I still shake a little bit when I think that she’s writing this in 1897, that when she says, it must be because the novelty has not worn off So, maybe that can stick with you 1904, we have this book here on display for you to take look at, Arthur Elson, Woman’s Work in Music So again we’re still dealing with that kind of singular, tokenized term a little bit But, his words are, they give us hope retrospectively The question of allowing women to compose, if they wish to do so, is hardly one that needs any extended debate Yet it is only in the last few decades that women’s inalienable right to compose has been fully established I like that he uses the term an alienable right, especially considering we’re in the Jefferson Building at the Library of Congress But, so he really gets in, you know this, he’s saying, okay this is, this is normal can we stop debating this, 1904, okay 1910 in The Musical Times which is published in London This article is fantastic, I highly recommend that you get yourself to a reading room, get a reader card and use any of our online historical newspaper databases and read this article by Ernest Newman It actually did get reprinted in the Etude, because the Etude wanted American readers to read this article Until women have had the opportunity of working for a few generations under the same social and economic conditions as men composers, and have then failed to produce a work of unmistakable genius, it is surely the most superficial dogmatism to say that they have no creative gift merely because they are women This article is fantastic, he’s getting to the core of what it was You know when you think of Fanny Mendelssohn, when you think of Clara Schumann, there were social and economic barriers

We can apply this to today, when we’re talking about barriers put up for people of various cultures Having opportunities are not in this country, whether they be creative, whether they have to do with voting So, this still holds true and this is 1910 Only eight years later, only eight years later, British women aged 30 who owned property could vote And then 1920 white women in this country could vote And not until 1928 women over 21 in Britain could vote So, this is the time that we’re talking about, there’s a lot going on here So when we’re talking about a 1924 glass negative of women coming together for a women’s professional organization, saying we are women composers, we are here This is right on the way of a big time for women So, the reasons we are here There were two concerts that week during that League of American Pen Women convention The first concert was Wednesday April 23rd, 1924 at nine pm in the Shoreham Hotel lounge I found out about this through a newspaper article before I found the concert program and this concert program is on display for you to take a look at today Then, another newspaper article called Radio Programs Today is will let me know there was actually a second concert Friday April 25th, 1924 at 8:30 pm in the Arts Club of Washington And it was broadcast live on the radio on WCAP So, this concert program makes me really happy, because we actually have two copies And we’re going to talk about how those copies differ later today You may notice in the lower left hand corner of the cover, in pencil is a call number And this program was a gift to the music division And we actually have a great deal of uncataloged concert programs Not only for Washington DC, but all over the country And a really rich collection of them from this time in the early 20th century And even though they were all gifts of the same person, the archival best practices that we know now for keeping things that come in together together That wasn’t really in existence yet, I mean the National archives didn’t form until the early 1930’s So we’re still dealing with a time where things get cataloged individually So for better or worse it was a little difficult to find this program, but I did And most of our DC concert programs were all gifts of this individual So let’s put some names to faces And I apologize for the pixelizing I wanted to really zoom in So something that made identifying these women a little difficult, was that not all of them have been, were photographed around this time I was trying to do a lot of image searching to just do comparison images You know just to say, well could this persons face be the same as this person But of course the newspaper articles were really helpful because it immediately zoomed in a lot of results and it was really just a matter of saying, which person at which place in the photo, other than Amy Beach is this woman So, all the way on the left we have Phyllis Fergus And Phyllis Fergus was active mostly in Chicago, she was the first musician to be president of the National League of American Pen Women in 1936 And on display I have two letters from her to Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, our auditorium and our concerts series are because of her And right leading up to her time as president, where she was the chair of the music group in the Pen Women In the 1930’s she arranged two Pen Women concerts at the White House She seems to be the least represented in our collections as primary sources are concerned, but we do have a large number of published music from copyright deposits Again, she was very famous in her lifetime, she was published as pretty major publishers Clayton Summy and Schirmer Ethel Glenn Hier, looking next She was a 1926 founding member of the Society of American Women Composers So that’s two years after this photo was taken, so that really tells you how important this moment was Because just one after this photo,

was a huge women composers festival in DC And then year after that, in 1926 is when we get the Society of American Women Composers So this was a moment, I can’t emphasize that enough She attended the Cincinnati Conservatory and Juilliard, but back then it was called the Institute of Musical Art And she held 14 fellowships at the MacDowell Colony, 14, she was very busy So she had a very strong relationship with the MacDowell’s and that’s represented by items that are on display on that table over there She was published also by Clayton Summy, also by Gilbert Music, so these were Chicago publishers She was a very gifted pianist and also a composer In the middle we have Amy Beach And she’s described in her lifetime as the dean of American women composers It’s a wonderful term, although it does give me pause because today when we talk about Erin Copeland, we call him the dean of American composers So there’s that little bit of a difference I just thought I’d put that out there, but needless to say, of the five women in this photo, she was by far the most famous in her lifetime and remained famous as the decades went on These other women kind of fell into obscurity for various reasons But Amy Beach’s legacy has very much stayed to the fore She was born in New Hampshire, she was incredibly active in Boston as a pianist She was a child prodigy And also in 1926 was a founding member of the Society of American Women Composers, she was their first president And then next over is Harriet Ware, born in Wisconsin Active in New York City, she died in New Jersey, also a child prodigy like Amy Beach Her music studies were kind of all over, Minnesota, and New York City, Berlin, Paris A lot of these women needed to go abroad to get educated And also to get their performing careers started Harriet Ware founded her own publishing firm for music in 1926 A lot of our copyright records in the US Copyright Office were submitted the claimant was Harriet Ware Publishing She was a music chairman of the League of American Pen Women And in 1927 the General Federation of Women’s Clubs made her woman’s triumphal march their official song So that’s something pretty interesting about her She was published by major publishers in her lifetime, before she founded her own firm She was published Carl Fisher, by Schirmer, Harold Flamer and John Church, she was also published by Arthur P. Schmidt who was Amy Beach’s main publisher until he died in 1921 And then last but not least we have Gena Branscombe She was born in Canada And lived in Chicago briefly for a time and then was mostly active in New York City Her music studies were in Chicago, Berlin and New York City She was a, not only a composer and arranger and pianist, but also a conductor She even founded her own choral, the Branscombe Choral, which existed from 1933 to 1954 She was chair-lady of the New York State Federation of Music Clubs from 1930 to 1935 She was also a 1926 founding member of the American Society of Women Composers And she was their second president after Amy Beach So also what you see is that the women in this photo know each other, professionally and that’s also very important So, when you’re looking at a photo of a group, sometimes you say, not only why are they together? Where are they together? When are they together? But, what brought them together and what other ties, what other dynamics? So photos really are worth 1,000 words Someone who is not in this picture, but that we will talk about today, is another composer, Mary Turner Salter She’s still known among vocalists for her art songs She was born in Illinois, she was a soprano, and a composer, and a pianist She taught voice at Wellesley And she was another composer published by Arthur P. Schmidt One of her pieces, The Cry of Rachel, was made incredibly famous by the soprano Ernestine Schumann-Heink, do we have any old opera lovers here? So yeah, so she, she made that piece incredibly famous and it was dedicated to her Mary Turner Salter was also a founding member of the Society for American Women Composers Also published by Schmidt

and additionally Schirmer and Arthur Ditson These were not publishers that picked up women just to feel out their roster, they picked up because the music was quality and that these women could produce So you can see at the bottom bullet point here, my deduced location to expand Washington DC I think it might be McPherson Square, not I’m not a historical DC expert If this photo were taken in Baltimore, I can tell you right off the bat where this was But the equestrian statue in the photo is really going to be the key I have yet to get to the DC Historical Society, but I plan on doing a little more research there to figure out where this was Even though we know these women came together for an event at the Shoreham, this photo was not taken at the Shoreham Now remember when I said other photos were helpful? Sometimes you got to be a little weary, because sometimes things can be a little too good I found this on, on an Google image search from a stock photo company And the caption made me so excited that then I got a little nervous because it says, Amy Beach with four American female songwriters in April 1924 Harriet Ware, Gena Branscombe, Mary Turner Salter, Ethel Glenn Hier and Amy Beach So to put a name to a face, we were talking about how Mary Turner Salter was not in the glass negative that we’re talking about today She is seated in the center So, even though Amy Beach was career wise the most senior of these women, Mary Turner Salter was the most senior in age Now, I’ve been in touch with the photo company that posted this to the stock photo website All they said to me was, oh we have no record of where we got this photo from, all we can tell you is that in 2006 that’s when we uploaded it to the stock photo website So, I, if it says April 1924 I can only hope that this was taken at the Arts Club or the Shoreham, I mean these women they’re all wearing corsages, which means they were guests of honor So, we can hope, we can wish, I want to track down the original, I don’t know where to begin, but I will, I will try because I want to know where they got this photo from, cause it’s too relevant So, this is brand new to my presentation as of yesterday A Branscombe scholar Kathy Shimeta, who is here today Brought this to my attention in the reading room just this week in the Arthur P Schmidt Company archives We have written correspondence proof that helps us figure out the timeline of the planning of the concerts that happened when this photo was taken All her handwriting’s a little difficult, so I’ll read you a transcription P.S. I forgot to say, this is in February 1924, remember the photo was taken in April, so not too many months of planning P.S. I forgot to say, I’ve just had an interesting letter from Mrs. Dorothy DeMuth Watson She was the chair-lady of the convention for the Pen Women that year Asking me to join the League of American Pen Women All sorts of interesting people belong, to come along to Washington in April and have my things performed With Mrs. Beach, Harriet Ware and Fay Foster at the convention Tea at the White House, a luncheon with President Coolidge presiding, won’t it be fun I’m as thrilled as a child at Christmas So not only does this tell us a little bit more in terms of the timeline of the planning of this concert, but we also learn that this was the first time that Gena Branscombe was a member of the Pen Women So that also tells us a little bit more about her relationship with the organization And you can see her initials GBT, the t she hyphenated her last name when she got married to Branscombe Tenney So, I love this postcard because something I was having a lot of trouble finding here, the library was correspondence to give us more supporting evidence, cause I’ve been relying so heavily on newspapers So, so this was, this is the gem to me So, thank you Kathy So, resources that I used to figure out what was going on in that photo, the contextual information Who the women were? The music division general collections, that’s where the sheet music, the printed sheet music is from that you will see in the exhibit It is where the periodicals,

the printed periodicals are from, as well as the books So those are our general collection materials Our special collections, so these are collections where because of provenance we keep everything together, these are collections with a variety of materials And this is just an abbreviated list really, of resources that I’d used from the music division, in addition to the Princeton Photographs Divisions, National Photo Company collection And institutional records actually are really helpful In the music division we have a non-collection collection called music division old correspondence And a lot of it is really a who’s who correspondence list, because of how closely tied Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge and her foundation were to the Music division in its early days So there’s a lot of correspondence with our chief southern music division and Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge and performers, and conductors, and composers, that’s where you find, you know Darius Milhaud and Martha Graham, and all kinds of famous people And it’s not because it came in with a collection, it’s because that was how we did business And then of course like I said, miscellaneous internet image searches, which may or may not be reliable So, let’s look at our entire cast of characters Because since we know that there were two concerts, the composers were not alone and because this is so DC specific, I think it’s really great that we can look a little deeper into who else was involved with the two concerts So, who, what, where, when We have Gretchen Hood, who performed as a soprano The abbreviations under the performances category Shoreham 4/23, so that was concert number one that took place at the Shoreham on April 23rd WCAP 4/25, that’s the broadcasted concert from the Arts Club two days later on April 25th So Gretchen Hood was involved in both concerts as a performer The Washington Post on April 20th, 1924 while promoting the concerts and the Pen Women, said that Gretchen Hood quote, is one of the most interesting sopranos in the city at the present time So something else we’re going to learn as we discuss more and more about these people, the performers, is that not only were the composers themselves famous in their lifetime But these performers that were involved were also the cream of the crop at the time, which shows you the regard that was given to the composers Next up we have Flora McGill Keefer, mezzo-soprano, also involved in both performances Flora McGill Keefer was a DC based choir and concert singer, very active in the Friday Morning Music Club, which still exists by the way And something that I have curated over there for you, we have programs from the Friday Morning Music Club, featuring Flora McGill Keefer And it actually shows you how many decades she was truly involved with the organization And she had early training in Chicago and then abroad She recorded for Victor early in her career Now we have Warren Lee Terry, a tenor I had trouble finding information about him, I couldn’t find an obituary, so I know he was active in DC, ’20’s, ’30’s, ’40’s And there are a lot of articles that document his performance career, but I can’t find an obituary to verify a birth date or a death date, yet The research is still continuing So he was a church soloist in DC And in, I know that from an article in October 1930 in New York City, he shared a recital with Harry T. Burleigh He was a Gilbert and Sullivan Specialist He performed in the Chautauqua Opera, the New York Opera Comique and the Comic, and the Metropolitan Comic Opera Company So his, his thing was definitely more comic opera rather than, you know grand lyric opera So, that gives you an idea of who he was John Marville, I had, I also had trouble finding information about him, he was a baritone Again, an active church soloist, local recitalist in DC, active in the ’20’s and ’30’s Like I said I had some trouble finding information about him Marjory Marckres Fisher, she’s great I cannot find a death date for her, however, she was a violinist that came for the first concert from San Jose, California Later on in her career she became a music critic and a journalist She was a music correspondent for Musical America and the music critic for the San Francisco News

She also patented a chin rest for violinists in 1937 Pretty cool So, it was suppose to be a special chin rest that allowed the instrument to vibrate more freely So she, she’s pretty interesting, I think she’s, she’s very special So she came from very far to come perform on this concert Next we have Julius Falk and the press, I haven’t really found her in a authoritative version of his name, sometimes it’s Julius, sometimes it’s Jules So he is most famous today actually for the Stradivarius violin that he owned You find a lot written about him in violin trade journals, historic violin trade journals He owned a 1723 Stradivarius, that is currently owned and played by the Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova Which she purchased in 1985 from Sothebys Julius Falk was Philadelphia based And he was also one of the earliest members of the first violin section of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he joined that orchestra at age 17 in the first violin section So that’s why there’s actually a dual birth date, because the article that I found listing him and the personnel of the Philadelphia Orchestra, it was their second season And so I’m not sure, if he was age 17 for the second season or the first season So that’s why he’s either 1883 or 1884, but I do know from his obituary he did die in 1957 Next up is Richard Lorleberg, a cellist He was born in Hanover, Germany and he studied cello with his father in Leipsic And his father himself was a famous cellist, his father played solo recitals for Kaiser Wilhelm the Second and Queen Victoria The family came to Baltimore in 1904 Baltimore historically had a very large German immigrant population And then he became DC based in 1910 He was also incredibly active in the Friday Morning Music Club and I have programs over there from the beginning of his time in DC He performed pretty often in various European Embassy’s in DC, so you can imagine him, you know schlepping his cello case around DuPont And also he played at President Taft’s funeral in 1930 and for one season was a member of the National Symphony Orchestra, the 1932, ’33 season And the Washington Herald in 1910, so right when he was fresh to the DC music scene said, Mr. Lorleberg not only plays with artistic finish, as far as technique is concerned, but his interpretation is unusually brilliant So again, these are performers that are the cream of the crop for the time And we did go over very brief and not just as supplying biographies of our composers Who by the way, all performed as pianists on these recitals, they accompanied their own works and Amy Beach also played as a soloist So, like I said obituaries were really helpful, but obituaries were also helpful with putting names to faces So we have a picture of Flora McGill Keefer, all the way on the left So she did, her obituary sadly the headline is, suicide certificate is issued in death of Mrs. Keefer, but it does, the article does tell us about her We also have a beautiful photo of Gretchen Hood, our soprano And so you can see that Julius or Jules Falk, his obituary has him listed as Jules, but a lot of the articles during his career said Julius, so like I said it’s still not confirmed which one it is And then we have a picture of Mr. Lorleberg over there And sometimes to find out what some of these performers looked like, it maybe wasn’t in an obituary, but something else entirely So there is a picture of Warren Lee Terry, our tenor, our Gilbert and Sullivan man So that’s a picture of him later in life, because that’s 1945 and he died in 1957 And there’s a caricature of Jules Falk, however, that was, that drawing is from almost exactly a year after the concerts we’re talking about So it does give you an idea of what he looked like And then there is a New York Times article talking about that chin rest that our other violinist Marjory Fisher invented So, we’ve talked about the people, we’ve talked

about the process of trying to figure out all the layers and the pieces, so let’s now talk about the concerts themselves So here’s this slide again, just to give you a little bit of a review of what we’re talking about here There’s concert one and concert two The program that you see is only for concert one So concert one got some big press, the whole week leading up This concert will mark something new in recitals as it will be the first in which more than one American woman composer has appeared in person on one recital program So, I’m not a member of the Washington Posts fact checking and I don’t assign Pinocchio’s, so I can’t confirm whether or not this is true But, it would be so amazing I really want this to be true and it would be, and if any of you feel like taking up the torch to figure out if this truly was the first program with more than one woman on the same program, as a composer, let’s go ahead and find out Also, we find out about the audience and the attendance of the concerts Hundreds of delegates attended the composers recital So that was also in the Washington Post, that was after the first concert, the day before the second concert And, some high praise after all the concerts were over It would be a fair estimate to state that these women form, perhaps, the strongest quintet of its kind that could be gotten together in this country These women were famous in their lifetimes Concert number two This was a little bit harder to find press about and my guess is because the Arts Club, it’s a private club So my guess that the audience was invitation only And I’m not sure how many music critics would’ve sat by a radio trying to write a criticism or an article about a concert that they couldn’t attend live It’s my, only my guess So, what we do find though is radio programs today and I had mentioned this earlier, this was how I found out what was played at the second concert, there was no program for that So, I’m relying very heavily on this radio listing Special musical program direct from Arts Club, incidental to a diner and reception given by the Arts Club in honor of America’s foremost women composers So, now we know why there was a second concert, because they were being honored by the music lovers of Washington DC This is how famous they were in their lifetimes We also find out that during the week Washington music lovers enjoyed a rare treat in the two performances given by a group of charming and talented American woman composers, assisted by prominent local vocalists and instrumentalists Both the concert Wednesday night at the Shoreham Hotel and Friday night at the Arts Club had large and enthusiastic audiences Amy Beach is also an ardent supporter of the radio, for she thinks it aids in familiarizing the general public with the works of American composers So we’re also learning that technology has been helpful for women composers historical and you know new music in general The article then goes on to really just be a biographical feature of Amy Beach, but I did think that that sentence about the radio was pretty important, because that was a unique feature of our second concert And WCAP actually gets listed as a new radio station The Bureau of Navigation, Department of Commerce published monthly pamphlet with lists of call signs and how to tune in And so in 1923 WCAP, which broadcasts at our second concert is listed as brand new So, it was a new radio station Thought you would find that interesting So this is an image of quaint little three by five index card from our card catalog This is how I found the concert program for the first concert And you can see that it’s annotated and it tells you that we have concert programs in our general collections for many Pen Women concerts Alright, remember I told you we had two copies of this concert program So something, you know we like to think about as performers, is that ah the program, that’s the record, that’s what documents exactly what happened Maybe not so true in this case So, copy one is clean, copy two is heavily annotated I’m going to go out on a limb and say that our donor of these programs, Theodore Gannon from 1929,

is the one who annotated these, only because a lot of the programs if not all of them that he had given to the music division, they all followed the same pattern Where there’s a clean copy and an annotated copy So, he was obviously an avid concert goer in DC And he’s kind of our little window into maybe what happened So copy two, the front cover it’s kind of hard for you to see, so I’ll let you know what it says On the left hand margin you can, there’s some writing and you’ll get an up close and personal look in the exhibit It says, I send my heart up to the browning So what he’s referring to is, song number three of Amy Beach’s opus 44, her three browning songs and she had set poems of Robert Browning Now song number three was not performed, only songs number one and two from the browning songs were performed So maybe he was mingling after the concert, maybe he was talking to Amy Beach And said, you know what else is there, is there more, I love this piece Maybe. Something to think about So, copy one versus copy two If we look at just the clean copy and just what was performed of Gena Branscombe’s music We would think that her song Krishna, With Rue My Heart is Laden and At the Postern Gate were performed But if we look at copy two, With Rue My Heart is Laden is crossed out And what’s written is, I Bring You Heartsease, which was another song of hers Now I Bring You Heartsease was also performed on the 25th I can only assume why that would’ve happened, I know that given the short planning timeline of this concert, maybe an efficiency sake programming decision was made, you know let’s do less material and do it well I know that as a performer that’s a very practical solution So, maybe that’s why Another difference that we find between copy one and copy two, is that the order of Harriet Ware’s songs was different So the first two were switched And Boat Song and Stars, because of their gorgeous covers, I have printed additions on display for you I did want us to listen to a historic recording of Boat Song today, but due to some technological difficulties I will point you to the Library of Congress’s National Jukebox, which is a wonderful project from our Culpeper Campus There we have a beautiful vintage recording from 1914, I believe, of Boat Song and Harriet Ware is the accompanist So, get thee to a reading room Alright, so now let’s talk about the music of each composer that was on these concerts Music of Amy Beach, so she by far had the most music performed And you can see that it actually spans her entire career up to this moment We have primary sources for this, for these pieces in the Arthur P Schmidt Company archives And also printed editions Now something that I think is quite interesting are the three pieces at the bottom Dancing Leaves, The Old Chapel by Moonlight and Nocturne These were all piece that were published in 1924 So my question is, were they hot off the press at this concert? Or, where they playing from a manuscript? Or, where they playing from a printers proof? So, this was definitely an opportunity, we don’t know if these, I personally don’t know if these are world premiers, there are Amy Beach scholars out there who may be able to answer that question for you But, I think it’s, it’s notable That especially as a soloist, that she is performing music of hers that is brand new at these public concerts And then here, just some beautiful sheet music covers, because I can’t display everything You can also see that a lot of this music for, not just Amy Beach, but most of the women involved in the two concerts that we’re talking about, were very good at doing what I call the baroque composer thing Where you take a song, or a piece and you rework it for whatever forces are needed And you have multiple versions So not just high voice or low voice, but also maybe multiple voices Or for a voice with a solo obbligato instrument So a lot of these pieces have multiple versions and Shena Van is one of them

So let’s talk about Gena Branscombe We have holographs for nearly every piece that was on these concerts, thank you Arthur P. Schmidt Company Adagio from Sonata in A minor, so the New York Public Library is actually the most major resource for holograph, meaning in the composers hand scores of Gena Branscombe They have sketches of this, it’s undated, which was why there’s a question mark next to the title So, I honestly don’t know, but I do appreciate that on all of these concerts, that she was, she had provided music for solo instrument with piano Because either it was solo piano, or lots of art songs And I thought that it was, it was really great, so on display today is the holograph score from an Old Love Tale, it’s one of many versions by the way She has a version for cello and piano, and then she also has art songs with the same title The piece was from 1911 and we have a signed photograph from Gena Branscombe to Arthur P. Schmidt dated 1911 also on display for you And again some gorgeous sheet music covers, because I can’t display everything But I just love old sheet music covers, I think they’re so stunning and beautiful And, something cool to share I had told you that newspapers were a big resource for me, but also trade journals and other periodicals What you’re looking at here, is an ad And if we think about when we’re looking at magazines, or newspapers, or scrolling on the internet, we’re like, oh it’s an ad Right? The ads have been so helpful to me, you have no idea So, on the left hand side is a really shrunk down version of a half-page bottom ad from the Arthur P. Schmidt Company And what I’ve circled for you is enlarged to the right Where Arthur P. Schmidt is advertising new compositions by Gena Branscombe and I thought it was really cool that it’s an ad that has two of the pieces that were performed on our 1924 DC concerts So, thought I’d share that with you So let’s look at Phyllis Fergus, like I said in terms of primary sources, she’s probably the least represented in our collections here But when it comes to printed music, boy does she show up The Radio Programs Today article that I said relied on heavily, listed just, she will perform her Story Poems Story poems, for those of you who do read music, on the right hand side she composes a piano accompaniment and then she recites the poetry So, this particular piece, The Highwayman, is submitted for copyright in 1926, the index card you see is from the US Copyright Office So this piece could not have been performed at either of our two Washington DC concerts, but I thought it would be cool for you to see that her things were getting submitted Her pieces, excuse me Now again when I said ads are helpful, sheet music covers and I have an earlier piece even than this I have one from 1923 on display for you When they list other pieces available, that is helpful So, could titles from this list have been performed? It helps us narrow the field a little bit, but she was pretty prolific, so it’s still going to be a very long list to work from and sadly we’ll never know But, this gives you an idea of how ads are still helpful Ethel Glenn Hier So In the Carpenter’s Shop I had a lot of trouble finding information about this piece, I date it as before 1918, because it shows up listed in a review of a vocalists recital in Musical America and that article is from 1918 So she had to have written it at that time or before then So that’s where I approximately date that too The rest of the pieces we have printed additions submitted to the Copyright Office And the Opus 19 piano suite, A Day in the Peterborough Woods, I have the Whippoorwill on display for you Whenever I hear that name I think of the bird calling the Martin New Flutes Sonata So he’s imitating a whippoorwill in the forest And, so that piece she indicates in a play that she wrote,

A Day in the Childhood of Edward MacDowell, that her Opus 19 can be used as music, incidental music before the epilogue of the play, so I also have a copy of the play here for you to look at from the Nicolas Slonimsky collection And then Down in the Glen and If You Must Go, Go Quickly are other works of hers as well So, this piece A Day in the Peterborough Woods was received by the US Copyright Office on May 9th, 1924 So again, was this hot off the press at these DC concerts? Because, and again same questions as the Amy Beach compositions, what were the musicians playing from? Was it a manuscript? Was it a printer proof? Was it a sketch, what was it, what was it? So again, this raises questions And again it shows you that these women were not only still actively composing, but also the place that new music, new compositions, contemporary music held for concerts at the time, that works were being consistently premiered and performed while they were still new Down in the Glen These are records again from the US Copyright Office This is Ethel Glenn Hier’s handwriting, I’ve checked it against some letters that we have So again, judging by the copyright date, was the Shoreham Hotel performance a DC premier? Was it a world premier? Again, what kind of score did the musicians play from? Same with If You Must Go, Go Quickly This is her submission to the US Copyright Office And Mary Turner Salter She also, like I said, was one of the many women published by Arthur P. Schmidt in Boston And a holograph score and a printed version I have on display for you is The Sweet o’ the Year What I also have on display, remember I said things come in multiple versions, she also has a multiple voice version that was published in the octavo series And so you can see that holograph as well as an editors, I guess it was a card used for tracking the editing and printing process from the Arthur P. Schmidt Company And you can see the various employees signing off throughout 1913 about, you know when it went to the printer and did the composer look at a proof and approve it, so you can take a look at that And again, beautiful sheet music covers, just because we love them And the printed version for the [inaudible] is on display today And then we have Harriet Ware We do not have holograph scores of Harriet Ware, but we do have the first editions that were submitted to the US Copyright Office in the music division And you will see Boat Song and Stars on display Stars is especially beautiful, as a hard core deco lover, the 1921 sheet music art on that is just stunning so, do get a close look at that And this the copyright registration card for Boat Song From what I’ve read in various publications of the time, this was her big hit And, so I think that’s maybe one of the reasons when you compare it to the 1921 compositions that were on the program, that may have been why this was included So, some resources to point you to The Performing Arts Reading Room, which is where you come to look at anything from the music division, not just music, but also theater, and dance, musical theater Keep in touch with us on our blog, the performing arts blog which was where this whole story was first revealed I’d written a blog post with some initial findings about this Our digital collections, our finding aids, research guides, for those of you in academia you may be more familiar with it being called a lib guide We’re doing lib guides, we’re just calling them something else, but there are the research guides and they are coming soon from the Performing Arts, one of my colleagues is writing the lib guide for American women, I just finished a lib guide for dance research, there’s going to be one on film music, one on jazz So we have a lot of great research guides to help you sift through the overwhelming, but rich resources at the library And the bottom link is national jukebox, which was what I was having trouble accessing earlier That’s where all the beautiful old digitized recordings are from Victor and other old labels And I really want to thank my colleagues in the music division, the reference librarians were incredibly helpful with,

you know taking on this newbie and me shoving photos in their faces and saying, do these people match, I have no idea And also the catalogers from the prints and photographs division, because they have updated the catalog record, goal achieved, these women are described, you can look up their names, the catalog record includes the caption now And also my colleagues in the concert office for coordinating everything for this talk today And I also want to thank all of you, this is not an easy room to find And I’m happy to take a few questions and then we’ll have time for you to take a close look at all of the sources I’ve pulled for you today, please wait for the microphones since this is being recorded So I think we have time for maybe two questions, I want to make sure everyone gets ample time here So thank you [ Applause ] Yes? >> Thank you very much for sharing that all with us I’m curious you had one picture and it said Glenn Hier and it did not say Ethel Glenn Hier and were they names that they used because they had to to get published, that were script names, or things that they also went by, so also known as, or things like that? >> Melissa Wertheimer: I honestly don’t know the answer to that question, I would actually like to find out, it’s something I haven’t had a lot of time to check out I personally don’t rule out typos, only because in the Radio Programs Today article, Gena Branscombe is actually listed as Gene So, I don’t know, it’s possible, does someone in the audience maybe have an idea? No? So, I’m not sure, but that ask a librarian link right there, it would be great if you submitted that question Because that can be a way for me to find out and then get in touch with you Yes? >> So I had a similar question and I can say personally experiences since my name can be confused with a male name and I’m a scientist and it’s been documented that, there is a bias, not necessarily a conscious in acceptance And since this is printed music to be sold, a very popular, I was wondering if in some circumstances if they used the lists female identified name >> Melissa Wertheimer: Yeah, I don’t know And also, I mean it could’ve been a situation where it was just the last name You know because sometimes you’ll find sheet music that just says Beethoven, or Mozart So there is that, there is that less evil possibility too, just allowing for that >> But I wanted to suggest another database that the invention sparked, because the Copyright Office resides here and it’s kin to Patent Office and Trademark and such And since I work at the Patent Office now, that this is triggered me, I’m going to go into the patent database and >> Melissa Wertheimer: Yeah, I tried it >> And type in these names >> Melissa Wertheimer: Oh did you? For, for the chin rest, unfortunately like the US Copyright Office, searching digitally is only available for recent records, you’re actually >> No, no, no, they’ve, so I will take this on and I will mail it to you >> Melissa Wertheimer: Marjory Marckres Fisher >> Yes, okay >> Melissa Wertheimer: Her violin chin rest, 1937 is the year So, thank you Is there one more question before we all enjoy the primary sources here? Alright, great So, I’ll be at one table with, and my colleague David from the concert office will also be here as well and I’m happy to show you around what’s here So again thank you so much